The following is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Please call a qualified immigration lawyer to discuss the specifics of your case.
There are several issues relating to the USCIS filing fee increase that are worth noting:
1. On July 30, 2007, the new filing fees go into effect.
2. Employment-Based I-485 applications for those with priority dates that were current in July that are filed through August 17, 2007 can be filed with the present filing fee ($325 + $70 biometric fee). Can these applications be filed with the new filing fees or will they be rejected? That’s a question that remains unanswered. However, it is important to note that forms that are filed with the wrong filing fees will be rejected. If the rejected application is returned after the August 17th deadline for current July EB cases, applicants will have to wait until the priority dates become current again to reapply. Could be a very long time.
3. Will concurrently-filed I-140 – Immigrant Petitions for Alien Workers for those who file after July 30 whose priority dates are current have to include the new I-140 fee or the present fee? Another important question that needs clarification. Not because of the money, but to avoid having the entire package rejected.
My two cents (or after July 30, my five cents!)
The new I-485 fee is $1010 and includes biometrics, as well as Employment Authorization Applications and an Application for Travel Document (for those who are eligible and apply). The current fee (until July 30, 2007) is $325 application fee + $70 Biometric Fee + $180 for the Employment Authorization + $170 for the travel document. This totals $745.
The new filing fee represents a 50% increase for those who would have opted for the Employment and Travel Documents and a whopping 255% increase over the $395 filing fee for those who would simply have filed their I-485 applications without Travel or work permission. These are not the most dramatic of the filing fee increases either.
Imagine if the cost of a movie ticket jumped from $10 on July 29 to $25.50 on July 30 or if the price of a $10,000 car increased to $25,500 overnight. Most of us probably wouldn’t go for it.
This outrageous increase can only happen in the case of a monopoly, and in this case a monopoly where there is no choice but to pay the fee or leave the country.
What a business!